Fact or Fiction
Forget opinions that are not supported by evidence and don’t let a good story get in the way of telling the truth.
Remember in the old days when you did an assignment at school or university, you were required to list your references? Well, these days, the best you will get is a disclaimer, in very small text because we are now living in the digital age that states “ all care, no responsibility”. Here today, gone tomorrow, so to speak.
If you trawl the internet, you will find thousands of internet portals, media articles and blogs just like mine devoted to real estate, offering their opinions regarding the past, present and future. The sad thing is that a lot of what you read is garbage, based on biased and uninformed observations. I am not saying that you shouldn’t have the right to an opinion, but if you can’t support your opinion with the facts or do not have the experience to qualify those observations, then it is meaningless.
No matter which way you turn, everybody seems to be an expert when it comes to real estate, particularly when there is a buck involved. Just recently, a long standing client of mine handed me a report he had paid good dollars for, regarding a property he wanted to purchase. The information contained in the report was appalling! Not only was the sales data poor, land areas were missing and it included numerous sales that were totally irrelevant. Worst of all, it did not include the one sale that was actually comparable to the property my client was considering buying. Understandably, my client was totally confused, he is not alone.
My father always used to say “get your facts right”. In real estate, the data of choice that agents’ use, in most instances is provided the REIV (The Real Estate Institute of Victoria). It contains everything you need to know, land areas, images, floor plans, aerial views, when the property was last sold etc. However, unless you are a member, you will not have access to this data. There are some companies that collect this data that the public can purchase but unfortunately the samples are usually poor and therefore, unreliable.
Agents are now required by law to provide sales data but sadly very few agents actually provide you with any sort of break down ( comparable sales analysis )
So, what is the answer? Quite simply, ensure the agent provides you with not only the sales data ( called facts ) from a reputable source such as from the REIV, but also at least one comparable sale that best matches the property you are planning to buy or sell to help you do your own analysis.
So please remember whether you are a buyer or seller, having a sound knowledge of property values will remove the fear of being taken advantage of and making costly errors.